RIP Twitter? Algorithmic Timeline Not Welcomed By Users
There's been an interesting hashtag making the rounds this weekend. Unfortunately for Twitter Inc (NYSE: TWTR), it's not the type of worldwide trend it's looking for.
BuzzFeed reported late Friday that Twitter will begin using an algorithmic timeline, possibly as soon as this week.
"The timeline will reorder tweets based on what Twitter’s algorithm thinks people most want to see, a departure from the current feed’s reverse chronological order," BuzzFeed said. "It is unclear whether Twitter will force users to use the algorithmic feed, or it will merely be an option."
The hashtag #RIPTwitter began trending Saturday morning. As user Ivica Milaric Tweeted, "Hey @twitter I enjoy it here, but a filter algorithm is one more step on the FB clone road. Innovation is the way out, not this #RIPTwitter".
BuzzFeed went on to note its report last summer, "an algorithmic timeline represents a way for Twitter to elevate popular content, and could solve some of Twitter’s signal-to-noise problems. It is also widely assumed to be anathema to the platform’s typically vocal power users."
Twitter's stock has stumbled over the past year, as traders and investors continue to worry about (among other things) how the social media site can growth its slowing user base. Meanwhile, Facebook Inc (NASDAQ: FB) recently boasted about its billion-person reach on multiple platforms.
"CEO Jack Dorsey is determined to make Twitter more user friendly and intuitive for people just starting out with the service," The Verge noted. "If Twitter can nail the execution (that's a massive if), this could in many ways make the product more valuable for more people."
UPDATE: On Saturday evening, Dorsey sent a series of Tweets clarifying Twitter's plans:
Hello Twitter! Regarding #RIPTwitter: I want you all to know we're always listening. We never planned to reorder timelines next week.
Twitter is live. Twitter is real-time. Twitter is about who & what you follow. And Twitter is here to stay! By becoming more Twitter-y.
Look at "while you were away" at the top of your TL. Tweets you missed from people you follow. Pull to refresh to go back to real-time.
I *love* real-time. We love the live stream. It's us. And we're going to continue to refine it to make Twitter feel more, not less, live!
Twitter can help make connections in real-time based on dynamic interests and topics, rather than a static social/friend graph. We get it.
Thank you all for your passion and trust. We will continue to work to earn it, and we will continue to listen, and talk!
Twitter shares closed Friday at $15.72, down 7 percent amid a broad market selloff, particularly in the tech sector. The company is scheduled to release its latest earnings report on February 10.
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